Posted 14 Jun 2023
Throughout this news feature, there will be
images of Bethan, Justice and Tawana with Elena Baltacha as 7 year old girls
who she discovered at their primay schools, all in disadvantaged areas of
Elena (Bally as she was known) was committed to visiting primary schools in the Ipswich area. She chose to visit schools only situated in deprived and disadvantaged areas, as she knew these schools were very unlikely to be delivering tennis as a major sport. She was committed to identifying girls, and then following this up by supporting them in many ways to ensure that they could travel up the path way, and achieve elite tennis status.
Bally’s story is even more incredible, she managed to deliver her charitable objectives when she was travelling around the
world as a professional tennis player. It is widely accepted, that she was one of the very first modern tennis players who
committed to a charitable foundation at this level. Bally possessed a ‘heart of gold’, she loved being with her girls, and
this manifested itself through the support, love, care, and attention she gave them. She was continually organising events
and experiences for them, to motivate, stimulate and inspire.
These girls are jewels in Bally’s legacy crown, her foundation, and the board of trustees, since her passing have worked tirelessly to ensure that the relationship started by Bally all those years ago, remains as strong as ever with our foundation girls. These relationships, and many more, we hope will last for a lifetime. Four of our foundation girls have now progressed through the foundation, and have settled into US College Tennis life, Bally will be proud of every single one of them, they have fought, as she told them to, and achieved their tennis dream.
Elena loved Wimbledon, it was one of the four Grand slams she always looked forward to, it had so many memories for her, especially her Centre Court win over top 10 player Amanda Coetzer, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in 2002. For this reason, it is very important for us as a foundation to ensure as many of our girls as possible, can experience this incredible Grand Slam. Because of the support of Wimbledon, our World Governing body, the WTA, and our National governing body, the LTA, the girls are always treated to a VIP experience.
Elena loved Wimbledon, it was one of the four Grand slams she always looked forward to, it had so many memories for her, especially her Centre Court win over top 10 player Amanda Coetzer, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in 2002. For this reason, it is very important for us as a foundation to ensure as many of our girls as possible, can experience this incredible Grand Slam. Because of the support of Wimbledon, our World Governing body, the WTA, and our National governing body, the LTA, the girls are always treated to a VIP experience.The day always starts from Ipswich, with the Elena Baltacha Foundation players meeting Nino and the chaperone for the trip over to Wimbledon. As you can imagine, from the very start of the day, there is a heightened sense of excitement. There is something about Wimbledon that is very special indeed, and the girls are very aware of this. As soon as we arrive, there is always the photo outside the main gates, it gives us the opportunity to kick the experience off with a memories through a wonderful image.
This year was extra special, as we had 3 of the girls who knew Bally personally, Justice Hall, Bethan Fothergil and Tawana
Senah. All three girls have such found memories of Bally, how sweet she was to them all, how supportive and caring, always
taking time to ensure she could build confidence in them all. All three of the girls achieved great standards, county level
and above, with Justice Hall achieving the status of representing Great Britain as a junior. Candy Wai also joined us on
this trip, Candy never had the pleasure of meeting Bally, but of course we always ensure that our foundation girls feel very
close to her, even though she is no longer with us. Bally would be so proud of Candy, she has been such a great servant to
the foundation, supporting through coaching, and administrational duties.
There is always so much to see, and so much to feel when you experience Wimbledon, from the world-famous green grass to
the strawberries and cream, which are also world famous! The centre court is striking and majestic, Wimbledon and the WTA
ensured that the girls were given tickets to watch the matches all day long, its an understatement to say they were very
appreciative, and very excited. The best players in the world will play Wimbledon, this year was no exception.
1 - Iga Swiatek (Poland)
2 - Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)
3 - Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
4 - Jessica Pegula (U.S.)
5 - Caroline Garcia (France)
6 - Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
7 - Coco Gauff (U.S.)
8 - Maria Sakkari (Greece)
9 - Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
10 - Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic)
The top 10 seeded men this year were:
1 – Carlos Alcaraz
2 – Novak Djokovic
3 – Daniil Medvedev
4 – Casper Ruud
5 – Stefanos Tsitsipas
6 – Holger Rune
7 – Andrey Rublev
8 – Jannik Sinner
9 – Taylor Fritz
10 – Frances Tiafoe
From the list of the players above, its clear to see why hundreds of thousands of spectators’ visit Wimbledon every year over the summer, for many it’s a yearly pilgrimage. You will always see thousands of tennis fans queuing up for hours, just for the privilege of visiting the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, and the world class tennis they will be guaranteed to see. The other reason tennis fans are attracted to Wimbledon is because of its history, the great matches that have been played, and the outstanding personalities and characters that have made this global tennis stage so exciting for millions over the decades.
We start and finish the day with a group photo, lots of smiles, happiness and an appreciation of the quality of tennis on
display, but also the care and attention that Wimbledon, the WTA and the LTA always show our foundation girls. There will
be a different group of players in 2024, but the enjoyment level, excitement, and appreciation will always continue to be
the same. Another year has passed, another very successful Wimbledon experience has been achieved, how can we ever thank
Wimbledon, the WTA and the LTA enough. They have never forgotten what Bally gave to our wonderful sport of tennis, and they
continue to honour her memory, in the best way possible, through her